With the dynamic nature of the Indian wine industry, it does not come as a surprise that something new is constantly fermenting.
Most recently, GroverZampa celebrated 25 years of their existence. A brand which has seen India grow from having no wines to making some of the finest wines here, GZ has played a crucial role in shaping the industry. As a brand, no other comes even close to how deftly they have managed to balance scale and quality; while some brands are too big and continue to make crass wines, others are too small and boutique to have a nationwide impact. My favourite wine from them remains the La Reserve, the first Indian red to ever get noticed, and one that, decades later, is still as magnificent and value-for-money. They have also launched a new sparkling wine with gold flakes in it and it is clearly intended for a different market segment, one that may not necessarily appreciate the finer nuances of their oak-ageing philosophy.
Another great re-find has been Fratelli. I have always been a fan of their Sangiovese but a tasting of their Vitae, MS, and Sette series showed hitherto hidden fruity softness and juicy elegance. It showed that not only are their vineyards coming of age, but also the winemaker (who has made some of the top Sangiovese in Italy), is getting to interpret them better for Indian climes. And the zero-dosage sparkling from them, which had all along seemed a bit austere, is now showing a pedigree that is beyond most locally produced fizz.
York launched their vintage sparkling rosé recently, and it is yet another commendable produce from this house. I confess to preferring their Brut and still rosé over the sparkling version, but it is still a commendable first vintage effort.
Chandon, for me, remains among the easiest of wines to sip and one, in most settings, which will be adjudged the most affable of the lot. They style of their wines tends to be fruitier and maybe leave a touch more residual sugar behind (it doesn’t make the wine sweet at all but adds a bit more roundness to it on the palate), all of which makes for one helluva crowd-pleaser.
KRSMA remains the top of my list for red wines this year and a recent vertical of their Cabernet Sauvignon served to remind just how drinkable they are while being young and yet so age-worthy. It’s still the finest Indian red wine to put down for cellaring.
Charosa Tempranillo Reserve may not need ageing, but it defines elegance right out of the bottle. A wine made with a Spanish grape to exceedingly high international standards, it is good enough to even fool the Spanish into believing that this is one of their good ones.